WHAT is the point of those blasted red parking meters?

I hate ’em.

I try, I really do try (as hard as Billy Jack tried to be nonviolent) to pay for my parking on city streets. I carry a Smart Card and top it up when it runs out. If I think I’m going to be an hour, I pay for an hour and 20 minutes in advance. I really try. Because I don’t mind leaving some time on the meter for the next person. I just hate getting a ticket.

So something like this really ticks me off…

I arrive today at Immaculate Consumption for an interview with Hogan Gidley, senior communications advisor to Mike Huckabee. There’s not a single available parking space on that block, either side of Main Street. But look! Somebody’s moving out!

And when the vehicle is out of the way, I see that the space has a red meter. You know, one of the ones at which you can only pay for 30 minutes.

Having no choice, I took it, and said to myself, Self, I really hope you can remember to come back out here and stick your card in again after 29 minutes.

But of course, being me, despite the best will in the world, I had forgotten this by the time I got to the counter and ordered my coffee. And if I had remembered it that long, I’d have forgotten it when I spilled my coffee taking it off the counter because I didn’t realize there was a little curb on the edge of the counter that I had to lift it over. And if I had still remembered it then, I would have forgotten it by the time I sat down and started talking politics with Hogan.

I would have forgotten it because that is what I do. I wish I didn’t do that, but I always do. It’s the way I’m made. Yeah, I could have paused to set myself a little alarm, except that my appointment had arrived before me and I didn’t want to stand there fooling with my phone before speaking to him, and once I started talking I’d have forgotten to set the alarm anyway, because that is what I do.

Of course, when I came out, I had a ticket. And what really gets me is that I’m pretty sure we had not talked for much more than 30 minutes. Way under an hour, anyway.

Now here’s the thing: I wanted to pay for an hour just in case, but I could not. It was physically impossible.

And this is not right. This is not fair.

And what I’d like to know is, why do red parking meters exist? Why can’t all parking meters be not merely green, but blue, so we could pay in advance for hours at a time if that’s what we want to do?

I’m thinking your answer might be something like, to keep customers turning over. In this case, to prevent the problem common to coffee houses of people coming in with a laptop, buying one cup of coffee, and sitting there all day.

OK, so if that is the case, why is there only one red meter on the block? That’s the way it always is. And time and again, that’s the only space that’s available — not because the 30-minute limit keeps it turning over, but because nobody wants to park in that space! It’s the short straw of parking spaces. It’s the Old Maid card! It’s snake eyes! Nobody wants it!

So why even waste a space by putting a red meter there?

I want an answer from y’all, but you can probably tell that whatever you say, it won’t satisfy me. Because whatever good they do, I will be convinced that it is not worth the gross unfairness of the situation.

Oh, as for what Hogan Gidley and I talked about — I’ll tell you later, This was more urgent…

76 thoughts on “WHAT is the point of those blasted red parking meters?

  1. Mark Stewart

    It’s a $7 ticket. Don’t sweat it. Parking could cost $36 for 2 hrs as in some bigger cities…

    Reply
        1. Kathryn Fenner

          John Spade has been telling me about how they are going to get meters you can up with your smartphone for a good ten years now….but if you had fed the meter, you might have gotten an even more expensive ticket, like the one I got over by the courthouse, even though I fed the meter to top it off, and stayed less than two hours!

          Reply
  2. Juan Caruso

    Well, Uber cabs may have to wait for their next fare in prome locations, and as even Clemson grads (11%?) may reckon — revenue for city services. like catching parking scofflaws.

    Reply
  3. Kathryn Fenner

    Well, some people might want to dash in a buy some roasted beans, or coffee to go, or can drink a cup in under an hour, or pick up a sandwich across the street, etc. There is indeed a particular dearth of parking on that block. Nonetheless, you got a ticket for staying too long at a meter you knew was only 30 mins.

    It would be nice if the state would develop those surface lots into structured parking, possibly with visitor slots and ground floor retail.
    It would also be nice if they’d vote to fix the roads.

    You know, it isn’t so far that you couldn’t have just walked over….

    Reply
  4. bud

    Not sure with the students gone why parking would be a problem. Could you have parked a block or 2 away and walked?

    Reply
  5. Norm Ivey

    I feel your pain–from the 30-minute meter to the forgetting because that’s what I do I really, really get that. In this case, I would have taken the red meter, put nothing in it, and resigned myself to the fact that I was going to get a ticket. At least my parking fee would be going toward my ticket.

    I once got a ticket on Senate near the State House when I was the only car on the block–40 spaces open, and I was 10 minutes late. Parking tickets are simply a fact of my life, and I accept and pay them without protest or resentment. It’s what I do.

    Reply
  6. Doug Ross

    Why didn’t you take the bus? That would have reduced the traffic downtown and allowed you to revel in the experience of sharing a ride with your fellow commuting communitarians.

    Reply
  7. susanincola

    I think I must have gotten the good karma from Norm’s experience. I went to Drip on Tuesday morning and totally forgot to feed the meter. I stayed about an hour, and when I went back out to my car, the meter checker was two cars down, so I just barely beat the reaper….

    Reply
  8. Brad Warthen Post author

    All right, fine. Since y’all back me into a corner with “why didn’t you park farther away” and “why didn’t you walk” and “why didn’t you take the bus”…

    BECAUSE I WAS LATE! Like, about five minutes late. And I’d caught every red light coming over.

    There. You happy? Yes, I’m both chronically late and almost always absent-minded.

    Lateness is not only a part of my being; I regularly find myself in situations in which the right thing to do is unclear. The punctuality fascists go on and on about how RUDE it is to be late, and I don’t disagree. But time and time again, in my experience, I find myself in situations in which the right and honorable thing to do is unclear. In this case, some little things came up in my day job that just had to be dealt with, and I was unable to rise from my desk until less than 10 minutes before the appointed time. So I HAD to drive, and I HAD to grab the nearest parking space I could find.

    I have experienced so much stress in my life because of being late, or stressing over avoiding being late, and I believe that between the two, the latter is greater. And I confess, it’s not always because of a difficult ethical choice (neglect THIS task or be rude to THAT person). Frequently, it’s because of that absent-minded thing. I’ll look at the time and see it’s much, much too early to head to my appointment, so I try to make good use of the time, and the next time I look at the time, an hour has passed and I am late.

    Kathryn says I stayed too long at “a meter you knew was only 30 mins.” But I didn’t know, you see. I knew it at the time I paid for the 30 minutes, and I would have been most happy to go ahead and pay for an hour right then. But the meter would not allow me to. I was completely unaware of the fact at the time when I COULD have put more in the meter, 20 or 25 minutes later.

    And I don’t know what to do about that. I’ve never known. And I’ve had efficient people try to coach me on it. Long before smartphones, I carried a Palm pilot to give me reminders of things. I use my iPhone for that purpose now. But I don’t always remember to tell the phone to tell me little things like this.

    And here’s the mystery I’ve never solved: I’ve never figured out how to remember to do something when I JUST DON’T REMEMBER. If it’s not in your head, if you are not conscious of it at the relevant moment, how do you act upon it?

    I’m just always thinking about something other than the thing I should be thinking about in order to avoid these situations. And it’s maddening. But there it is…

    Reply
    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      And so if you’re me, you happily put a little more in the meter than necessary, because you know you won’t think to do it later.

      And that works, until you encounter a meter that won’t let you do that.

      Reply
    2. Doug Ross

      Two comments –

      First, I have always lived by the motto: “If you are early you are on time, if you are on time you are late, and if you are late don’t bother showing up”. If you plan your time around being 15 minutes early for anything, you’ll never be late. Too many people try to time things “just right”. If there’s one thing I am proud about teaching my kids is showing up on time is important.

      Second, it has been my experience in dealing with people who are chronically late that they would fall on the far end of the self-centeredness scale. There is a certain ego boosting characteristic of being the last person to show up as it gets one noticed. I see it all the time on my projects – there are people who show up one minute late every single day for a 9:00 meeting — and then there’s always a grand entrance with some explanation of what other important task kept him/her from being on time.

      Reply
    3. Kathryn Fenner

      It says clearly on the meter “no refeeding” or words to that effect.

      Chronic lateness may be a neurological thing, but it sure seems to me that it’s cramming too much into your day that does it. You aren’t an ER doctor. Nothing comes up at your work that is life-threatening. If you leave a bit early [gasp], stuff won’t come up so suddenly that you won’t have time to explain that you have a “prior engagement.” Perhaps you don’t have time to sneak out and meet with folks for blog purposes (?) –right? Whatever. Schedule less. Leave early.
      —or don’t, but don’t expect sympathy here.

      Reply
    4. Kathryn Fenner

      and when you agree to do something, before you do anything else, you stop and enter it into your phone. Your phone should be set up to make a noise early before anything on your calendar. When it does, you stop what you are doing and move on to the thing you agreed to do.
      Simple.

      Reply
    5. Brad Warthen Post author

      I’ve tried every strategy y’all suggest, and many others. Over and over and over.

      They work a couple of times, and then they don’t. And all ANYONE ever remembers is the times that they don’t.

      People who are on time all the time simply have something I don’t seem to have. And BOY are they judgmental about it, seeing themselves as morally superior instead of as having a nervous system that is wired differently.

      My whole newspaper career, I would get glowing performance reports because I was good at what I did, and I worked hard. But you have to say SOMETHING critical, right? And for me, it was always “needs to work on organizational skills.” Which I did, year in and year out. But I was still me.

      Once, a corporate type asked me why my evaluations said that, year after year. Why wasn’t it fixed? I didn’t hit him, so I’m proud of myself there. I don’t remember what I said. But I remember what I thought: I thought, as I had always thought, that evaluations were bogus, make-work, particularly with the kind of senior, highly skilled people I worked with. But I did my best on them. And yeah, I always pointed out people’s weaknesses and set for strategies for working on them.

      But you know, when someone is so skilled and so experienced that they make it to an editorial board, it’s pretty clear what they’re good at and what they’re not good at. And everybody’s got something they’re not good at.

      For instance, on of the very best people I worked with — one of the most skilled, dedicated, talented journalists I’ve ever MET; and you would agree with me if not for the fact that I’m not going to name this paragon — simply could not spell. Just couldn’t. Which seemed just as ridiculous to me, as someone to whom spelling is easy, as efficient people think my absent-mindedness is.

      This person has always employed strategies to compensate for the lack of the ability to spell, to the point that only his or her editor would know. But it was still a weakness, and it wasn’t going away. And this person was still an extremely valuable employee, someone we were very lucky to have. And that was always going to be the case…

      Reply
      1. Doug Ross

        “And BOY are they judgmental about it”

        What’s to judge? If you chronically late, that’s a YOU problem and nobody else’s. Those who are chronically late don’t even seem to comprehend that they are impacting others. The message is pretty clear: “My time is more valuable than yours”.

        Even with your performance reviews, I don’t think you see that you seem to get a little kick out having that trait recognized every year. It’s your “brand” apparently – late and disorganized. Meanwhile, if other people are depending on you to be the opposite to meet THEIR goals, it’s not so quaint.

        Reply
        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Doug says “What’s to judge?” And then proceeds to judge. My fave part is when he presumes this: “Those who are chronically late don’t even seem to comprehend that they are impacting others.”

          Nothing could be further from the truth.

          Reply
          1. Doug Ross

            There’s nothing wrong with judging people. We all do it. If I work with someone for awhile and find that he is constantly late, I use that information to determine whether I want to continue working with him. I judge people on what they say they will do and what they actually do. Is that wrong? I judge people on the quality of their output. Is that wrong? So why would it be wrong to judge someone if their tardiness causes me problems?

            I would HOPE the people who employee me judge me just as I judge myself. When I see areas that need improvement, I look for solutions. I am really, really good at getting things to 90% quickly but not a good closer. So I turn that part of my work over to others who are better than me. I don’t have a very good eye for visual “coolness” so I hand that off to those who do. I don’t do “bureaucracy” well at all so I avoid those situations. And if I was chronically late, I would use my smartphone to fix that.

            Reply
            1. Mark Stewart

              I am always a little bit late to business meetings. It’s intentional. You will not hear me apologize for it, unless I am genuinely late.

              I will also more than occasionally make a comment or flip remark right off the bat that unsettles or destabilizes others just a bit – as often as not a bit of self-deprecation (but a zinger is never out of the question). You know why? Not because I want to be cutting, mean, controlling, self-absorbed, impertinent or any other such sort of negativity; I do it because it breaks down the artifice and gets to the real. If someone can’t get past rigid, I need to know that before I waste my time on their preconceived and most likely inflexible outlook.

              The idea that punctuality doesn’t waste time is a fallacy. At the same time, there are absolutely situations when prompt punctuality is demanded and must be adhered to. Most of life is not like that, however. Words we have all heard and have all not taken enough to heart: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

              Reply
              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                Mark’s my hero! I, too, have often shown up late and started with the wisecracks. But that’s because I’m an incorrigible class clown.

                I like the Catholic approach with Mass… if you get there before they start to read the Gospel, you’re OK. It counts…

                And that’s like 10 minutes in.

                And then there’s Spanish Mass… whole other ball game. It starts when it starts. Back when we started doing them at St. Peter’s, years and years ago, the late Father Juya, who was from Colombia, remarked placidly, several minutes after Mass was supposed to start, “We are not slaves to the clock.”

                Amen, Padre. No somos esclavos del reloj.

                Reply
  9. Brad Warthen Post author

    Oh, and as for the argument that these red meters are there for the convenience of people who just want to run in… can’t they use the regular meters? You can put as little as a nickel into those, if you’re going to be that quick… I mean the green ones, not the blue ones.

    Reply
    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      And yeah, I get it that the red ones are more likely to be available, on account of the fact that most of us shun them. But that’s not a good-enough reason to suit me.

      Reply
      1. Kathryn Fenner

        Well, tough. They are here. They are useful to enough people that the parking gods deem them profitable, one way or another.

        Reply
  10. Brad Warthen Post author

    And yeah, y’all are right that overcommitment, trying to do too much in a day, is the cause of much of this.

    But if I were to address THAT, and be ruthless about it, the first thing that would have to go would be this blog.

    And that’s what causes situations like this one to stress me so. Because I don’t have TIME to go see Hillary Clinton or interview a local guy who’s helping run the Huckabee campaign. But I do, because of my compulsion…

    Reply
    1. Kathryn Fenner

      I don’t care, blog-wise, if you go interview a local guy about the Huckabee campaign or waste time watching some Hillary shenanigans. If you have some observation to share based on what crosses your path in the ordinary course, that’s fine for me.
      I think you feel compelled to go to these things to keep your brand alive.

      Reply
      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Yes, and to get pictures.

        I don’t have access to AP or any other source of photos. They don’t offer affordable packages for something as small as this blog.

        So to have pictures of the people I write about, I have to go shoot them.

        Later in the campaign, I’ll go just to see what they say and how the crowds react to them. But at this point, it’s for the pictures.

        Which is why it was so frustrating that they wouldn’t let us near Hillary.

        You know, that was a new experience for me. I’m used to presidential candidates being FAR more accessible than that. Look back at pictures I took of candidates in ’08 and ’12, and you’ll see they’re pretty much up close and personal…

        This was like… covering the president. Or someone who thinks she’s already the president.

        And that’s a useful thing to find out, and comment on. Shame that it’s just dawning on me now.

        Reply
          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Thank you, Cindi.

            Cindi Scoppe has always been like me, only more so. I’m a word guy. For the most part, I can do without pictures. But I DO understand that they can enhance the words — not to mention improving SEO.

            Cindi, for many years, had the option of ignoring pictures entirely. And she did. Now that she has to do it all, she has no choice but to deal with them. Yet another reason why her position as the last person in editorial is far from enviable…

            Reply
        1. clark surratt

          Why, Brad, is Clinton being so walled off from news reporters? Is she trying hard to avoid direct questions? Going way back, before his first election, one of the charming things about her and Bill is that they almost pushed themselves into news people and welcomed their questions ( obviously trying to enhance their brand). But, of course, it worked.

          Reply
  11. Brad Warthen Post author

    Yes, and I’ve chosen to try really, really, really hard over the years to be on time, and to focus on the things other people want me to focus on, and failed time and time again, and I’ve suffered a LOT of stress over it.

    But I know how you are with your absolute faith that we’re all masters of our own destinies, so I’m just going to drop it.

    This topic has cast a pall on my day. It’s depressing. It started out as me being tongue-in-cheek about getting a ticket, but now it’s just depressing.

    Oh, wait — depression’s a choice, too, right? A sign of weak character, right? I forgot…

    Reply
    1. Doug Ross

      As someone who has experienced actual clinical depression, I’d suggest that what you are feeling because a couple people didn’t say “oh, it’s okay to be late all the time” isn’t even in the same the timezone.

      Reply
    2. Kathryn Fenner

      I do not believe at all that we are masters of our own destinies, as you well know. The universe is random and chaotic.
      However, it’s like the old joke: How many therapists does it take to change a light bulb? One, but the light bulb has to want to change.
      And since the universe is random and chaotic, I leave early, just in case.

      Reply
      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        But then, you might be early. I don’t like being early. As I told Doug in a sidebar…

        If I’m early, and have to sit and wait, I get very antsy, and I feel like an idiot, and think of all the things I could be doing with that time.

        Carrying my iPad with me everywhere has helped with that feeling, a little. As long as there’s wi-fi, I’m good. I can check comments on the blog, read that story I’d been meaning to read all day, or something. And even if there’s no wi-fi, I can do most of the same things on my phone.

        But before tablets and smartphones came along, I REALLY chafed when I was early…

        Reply
          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            No, that’s not it.

            What I’m saying is that I try to be on time. I really try. And sometimes I succeed too well. And when I do, it acts as a sort of negative reinforcement.

            What I want to do it arrive exactly on time. I feel like I’ve done the wrong thing when I get there early.

            Being late is a failure of time management. To me, so is being early. Early doesn’t feel AS bad as late, except on occasions when I neglected something I need to be doing in order to be early. THAT feels just as bad.

            Also, I have this uncanny knack for being early for things that end up starting late. Get there 20 minutes early to see the doctor, and you can bet I won’t get in until an hour past the appointment time. Get to a meeting 15 minutes ahead of time, and it doesn’t really get under way until 10 minutes past the hour.

            Not always, but really frequently. It’s almost like I jinx it by being early…

            Reply
            1. Kathryn Fenner

              Look, you admitted that you hate being early. You have to choose a window of when you will arrive, unless, perhaps you are walking. You choose the one that starts with on-time and ends with late. That is arrogant!
              You aren’t powerless, here.

              Reply
              1. Mark Stewart

                Why is it arrogant?

                There is also the narcissism of the time nazis on display here. Is it not also rude to presumptuously cut off a prior engagement just to make a following one at the time personally desired by the arranger of the later meeting?

                Maybe everyone just needs to show a little respect to others. Both ways…

                Reply
              2. Doug Ross

                Mark,

                Do you allow your customers to pay their bills late frequently? Do you pay your own bills late? Were your children tardy to school on a regular basis?

                There are some basic expectations when it comes to dealing with people that require you to meet your obligations. One of them is being on time. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of someone being viewed negatively for being punctual.

                Reply
              3. Brad Warthen Post author

                In relation to what Mark said…

                One of these days I’m going to do a post on people who are in the position of choosing the time for a meeting, and they choose 1 p.m….

                Reply
              4. Kathryn Fenner

                Not a time ‘personally desired’–a time *mutually agreed upon*! It is not at all rude to terminate a previous engagement to meet a subsequent one, unless, of course, you have double booked and not allowed adequate time for the previous one.
                And if everyone holds over the previous engagement, you end up with a huge mess late in the day.

                Reply
              5. Mark Stewart

                Brad,

                1 pm is a great time for a meeting – they either serve you lunch, or if not you say, “I’m getting hungry and so I hope you don’t mind that we cut this short as I need to eat before going into my next meeting.” Two birds, one stone…

                Reply
              6. Mark Stewart

                Some of all y’all have some rigidity issues.

                Yes, there are differences: If one is meeting someone for a lunch or dinner reservation one is on time. If one is hosting a party of any sort they are correct to stare squinty-eyed at anyone who dare shows up at the nominally appointed time – unless they are a very good friend who arrived early to lend a hand. I am so glad I am largely past the stage of the baby-sitter genuflections. I sometimes wanted to put a sign on the door saying “I know that you are going to say that you are here on the dot because you are on the baby-sitter clock; so please don’t. Better yet, go drive around the neighborhood and talk with your partner tet-a-tet for a little while longer as ALL PARTIES START 15-20 MINUTES AFTER THE NOMINAL TIME UNLESS THE INVITE SPECIFICALLY SAYS TO BE ON TIME.”

                Reply
              7. Kathryn Fenner

                Of course one comes “late” for a party. I don’t mind a few minutes when I am waiting in a restaurant. I HATE having to wait for a quorum on a board meeting because some people can’t cut things short. I especially hate it when chronic latecomers expect to be filled in and also make points that have already been discussed.

                I also have certain people whom I will not agree to meet on the street, especially in less temperate weather.

                Reply
                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Shortly after we arrived in Ecuador (the place I lived longer than anywhere as a kid), my parents showed up for a party a little after the appointed time. They found their shocked host and hostess not yet bathed and dressed, and a good hour or two away from being ready. Major faux pas…j

  12. Norm Ivey

    I’ll speak in Brad’s defense because I recognize some of his traits in myself. I’m forgetful. (Ask my bride.) It’s not that I don’t want to remember. I just don’t remember. And it doesn’t matter how hard I try or how many notes or reminders I set up for myself. I just don’t remember to do these things. It’s not that these things aren’t important. On the contrary, it’s more like everything’s important.

    One benefit of spending a career among school children is that you get exposed to the entire spectrum of human personality, abilities, strengths and weaknesses. And yes there are those among us that are habitually late or forgetful, but my experience tells me that every one of those people have some strength to offer. Perhaps it’s kindness or humor or intelligence, or some trait that doesn’t necessarily translate to school success, but everyone has something to give. I believe that we spend too much time trying to correct students’ weaknesses instead of teaching them how to maximize their strengths.

    So when people are late or forgetful, I focus on what they have to offer and forgive their shortcomings, and forgive my own shortcomings as well.

    Reply
    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Amen, Norm.

      And you grok the essential question: How can you remember something that you don’t remember?

      And you’re right on the money when you say that the problem is that “it’s more like everything’s important.”

      Only with me, it’s more like everything’s FASCINATING. I get really, really interested in what’s in front of me. I’ve often thought I was the most easily fascinated person I know. Which is why I’ve always been pretty good at what I do. It’s like… I mentioned my dear friend Cindi above (or maybe on another thread today). One of the most efficient, task-oriented people I’ve ever known. She HATED going into a meeting with someone that SHE didn’t have a specific question for. If that person was unrelated to something she was working on, if she couldn’t see how that person would help her complete a task, it was to her a waste of time.

      I went into such meetings with the attitude described in Dune: “Be prepared to appreciate what you meet.” I looked for the unexpected thing that I would seize on like a bright, new toy. I would become fascinated by that one thing, and dig it, and think about all the ways it related to everything else I’d ever seen, heard or experienced, until it turned into a column. And there were people out there in the world who would dig that column the way I was digging the topic while writing it.

      And when that’s gone, part of me will be dead.

      Reply
      1. Norm Ivey

        I like your description of finding everything fascinating. It reminds me of Emily Dickinson:

        Not knowing when the dawn will come
        I open every door.

        Reply
      2. Doug Ross

        But those who are late refuse to see that they impact others. The organized guy isn’t causing you harm, is he? The guy who remembers stuff isn’t hurting you, is he? But if I call a 30 minute meeting for 9:00 and you show up up at 9:10, it’s no big deal to you..but if I have another meeting at 9:30, you’re impacting me.

        Late people are people who think the other people SHOULD wait for them. it’s an ego thing, not neurological. I bet they are typically either the baby in the birth order or an only child. Not always, but I bet there is a correlation.

        Reply
        1. Kathryn Fenner

          My husband is the baby, his oldest brother is also just as bad–I used to work for him. He’d quip that we weren’t late *yet *for a meeting an hour away, even though it was to start in ten minutes. ha. ha. The older brother even wrote a quasi-scientific paper about how it was b/c he is left-hand dominant (as is Steve).

          Reply
    2. Kathryn Fenner

      Okay, as the wife of one of you guys, I see that the professor sets up alarms on his phone. When he stops what he’s doing and moves on to what he had scheduled, no problem. It’s just sometimes he doesn’t. He figures he can squeeze a bit more out of whatever he was doing when the alarm went off, and THEN he forgets to do the new thing. It’s discipline to heed the alarm. It didn’t use to be nearly so easy to do this–you’d have to remember to check your calendar, watch, PDA, etc., but now, as long as you didn’t procrastinate on entering the appointment in, and don’t procrastinate on doing it, you’re set.
      Just do it!

      Reply
  13. bud

    I know lots of people who are chronically late. I always tell them to be somewhere 10-15 minutes before they actually need to be there. It’s annoys the heck out of me to have to make that type of arrangement but it’s out of necessity.

    As for the parking ticket. No sympathy here. If I was the judge I’d double it. No excuse for chronic lateness. None.

    Reply
  14. Bryan Caskey

    I guess it’s a good thing that you weren’t in the Navy. You’d be doing a lot of push-ups.

    It’s probably also a good thing you weren’t a litigator. You’d be getting yelled at by a lot of judges.

    Reply
    1. Doug Ross

      I was thinking about Brad and his regret that he couldn’t enlist in the military. It may have been a blessing as I can envision a Private Pyle from Full Metal Jacket situation occurring after Private Warthen was late to morning PT too many times.

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      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        The thing about the Army (or, in the case of Full Metal Jacket, the Marines) is that you’ve got nowhere else to be. What would keep you from being on time?

        That’s actually one of many reasons why I regret not having the opportunity to serve. I think it might have rewired my brain at an earlier, impressionable time of life. Also, I would have learned to sew on buttons and other useful, self-sufficient tasks…

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